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Mountains & Valleys

MOUNTAIN — to local hospitals being allowed to do some elective surgeries and other procedures again. It’s for outpatients only, for now, but at least they’ll be able to make a little bit of money, and patients can get some health needs taken care of. Even combined with millions of dollars in federal aid, it probably won’t be enough to make up for North Country hospitals’ massive losses, but hopefully none of them will have to shut down at this time when we need them most.

VALLEY — This crisis makes us realize how messed up our health care and elder care systems are in this country. How is it that in the planet’s richest and most powerful nation, when a health crisis hits and we need hospitals more than ever, hospitals are so starved for funding that they have to furlough hundreds of staff members, just in the rural North Country? How is it that, for years now, the only way nursing homes could function was with dangerously low staffing levels for their number of residents — and that when the state told them they couldn’t refuse new residents with COVID-19, many of them took them — likely at a cost of many lives — instead of stopping all new intakes? We are no experts on how to fix those systems, but if we as a people learn anything from this crisis, it should be that we need to reshape our health and elder care systems so that they more or less work, both in and out of crisis.

MOUNTAIN — to elected leaders when they work hard, truly care about people regardless of political ideology, and listen to them with open minds and hearts. Extra mountains for when they purposefully overlook party lines and make a point of focusing on what people have in common rather than what divides us — especially in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, but really, at all times.

VALLEY — to elected leaders when they cannot bring themselves to do their part to protect people amid this pandemic — hard, day-after-day work that ultimately saves lives and livelihoods. Valleys for when they apparently just don’t care enough about people other than themselves or their political allies; when, instead of serving the public in general, they intentially drive wedges to distinguish themselves and hurt so-called enemies; and yes, when they suggest injecting household cleaners into your body might cure COVID-19.

MOUNTAIN — to all the projects local high schools are doing for their seniors. In Keene, there will be a community parade Sunday for the senior class. Saranac Lake High School will put lawn signs in front of its seniors’ homes. An AuSable Valley Central School District teacher is decorating a storefront in AuSable Forks with seniors’ photos and memorabilia — and more projects are in the works. Plus, all local high schools and colleges are participating in the Enterprise’s Every Graduate Has a Story project, which will introduce each member of the Class of 2020 to the community at large by publishing a 150-word story about each student. Look for more on that soon.

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